Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Happy Anniversary

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Compress Ma Pantalon – WebsterWest Ink from Stans Cafe on Vimeo.

Shakespeare’s 400 years gone (23 April), the Queen is 90 years alive (21 April), Roisin is 1 year with us (20 April) and Nina West…

Looking to promote Made Up The REP asked if this was our first all female cast, the reply was simple – “no but it is our first in 20 years”. That show was Ocean of Storms and Ocean of Storms as Nina West reminded me recently, was the first Stan show for which she created the music, so Happy Anniversary to her. Continue reading “Happy Anniversary” »

Enjoy your evening.

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

cpr

Man down! Check you’re not going to slip on pools of vomit or urine. Approach, slap and shout. No response. Call for help “get an ambulance”. Ear to mouth and nose, look at hand on sternum, ten secs max, no breath. Hand on head and chin, hyper extend neck open mouth, look all around inside, all clear. Where the ribs meet, three fingers up, heal of hand, fingers interlocked, thirty compressions, two each second, one third body depth down, down, go! If you break their ribs so what, they’re about to die. Keep the hyper extension, squeeze nostrils closed, seal your mouth over theirs and blow deep and hard one second, once more, then back for another thirty compressions and on and on. If they vomit turn their head to the side, scoop it out. “Your job is to keep them alive for nine minutes”.

Attending a show @ A E Harris? Don’t worry you’re in safe hands, we’ve had the training. Enjoy your evening.

How To Do It

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

I live in fear of Tim Harford. He hosts the Radio 4 and BBC World Service program More Or Less. The premise of this brilliant programme is that they interrogate statistics that have entered the public realm but sound a bit dubious. Classically it is politicians who are subject to fact checking but the programme’s range is broad, it’s up-beat and playful; Tim Harford is fantastic but he terrifies me. Continue reading “How To Do It” »

Changing the Guard

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

A changing of the arts guard has been sneaking up on us in the West Midlands.

Tim Hodgson must have been Performing Arts Producer at mac birmingham for over a year now. There he replaced Louisa Davies who moved to become Events Manager at the RSC. Paul Burns has moved on from International Dance Festival Birmingham. Fiona Allan is the new boss at the Hippodrome having moved from The Curve in Leicester. Stephen and Jackie Newbould are leaving Birmingham Contemporary Music Group soon. Aaron Wright has just been announced as Artistic Director of Fierce replacing Harun Morrison and Laura MacDermott.

Each producer / programmer brings their own personal interests and preferences to a new post, which impact on who they commission and who they book. Each shuffling of personnel appears to close down opportunities for some and open avenues for others. There are fresh starts and new visions wherever we turn. These are exciting times.

The final exchange on what I suspect is an incomplete list is that Matt Burman has left Warwick Arts Centre (to head up the Yorkshire festival) and is replaced by Julia Carruthers. Matt had a great interest and experience of Contemporary Theatre, which suited Stan’s Cafe very well. Julia seems to have had more of a focus on Contemporary Dance, so we may have to introduce ourselves to her. I’m hoping that this introduction goes well, not least because she was tour managing the Michael Clark Company when they were collaborating with The Fall and she must must have some hair raising stories to tell of those days.

What are the Odds?

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

bigsum

Today with the excellent Kate Green I was working with some young people in Birmingham planning a walking adventure in the City Centre on Tuesday. All was going well and as planned we moved on to the Risk Assessment section in which we ask the students to think through what the risks of the trip may be, if these are acceptable and how we mitigate against them. The first risk they thought of was ‘being blown up’. It may have been that they were playing a deadpan game of winding us up. I hope they were. If they were they were playing it very straight and consistent. We played along, to an extent; after all it is a risk.
Continue reading “What are the Odds?” »

Being In Time

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

being-in-time

On Saturday at 06:30 I experienced Something Good outside Birmingham Cathedral; dawn happened. As Dan Jones’ composition for the cathedral choir swirled around the churchyard, the streetlights clicked off in small clusters and a felt the lightness that came from realising that when I had arrived it had been the night and now, possibly fifteen minutes later, it had become the day. Although I have more than a passing acquaintance with dawn I cannot recall the last time I experienced like this. Usually I am in my own world noting the presence of dawn with more or less pleasure, on Saturday I experienced being in time and it was a joyous feeling. Continue reading “Being In Time” »

Chas Ambler

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

It was a wonder that I was able even to see Chas Ambler. He was a mature student, in the third year studying theatre at Lancaster University when I had just arrived, a naïf first year student. Rumour had it that Chas drove round the town in a decommissioned London Taxi, that he had worked with counter cultural pranksters The Natural Theatre Company and that he smoked marijuana. We existed in different dimensions. Continue reading “Chas Ambler” »

Street Spy 2

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Street-Spy-2b

Years ago the Birmingham Post published a special supplement to celebrate Birmingham’s first Arts Fest. I wrote a piece which was half poem and half observational game. It was quite fun so when a local shop asked if we had anything for a newspaper they were planning to publish we sent them a copy of Street Spy and suggested we could do something similar for them. They liked it and agreed but things aren’t quite that simple when art and shops meet. Continue reading “Street Spy 2” »

Art Hols

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

So the Yarkers eschewed Tuscany for yet another year and went, as usual, to the West coast of France. With a pin in a map we found ourselves in the Saint Jean de Monts, a jolly seaside town which became even more jolly when the lottery came to town.

From what we could deduce, as a kind of thank you / promotional push, the French lottery send at least one road show around the country and on 22nd July our paths crossed.
Continue reading “Art Hols” »

Clive Dutton

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

cilvedutton_forweb

It was very sad yesterday to learn of the death of Clive Dutton. He was an amazing man.

I’m not going to rehearse his biography here as a professional journalist has written a proper obituary, but certainly our experience of Clive tallies with everything said about him in that obituary.

Clive had vision, energy and charisma. He was the Executive Director of Regeneration at Birmingham City Council when we met him. It was at a time when we didn’t feel we were getting much traction in the city and someone had recommended with visit Mr. Dutton. Continue reading “Clive Dutton” »


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